’13 Reasons Why’ Almost Cut This One Scene + It Would Have Made Season 2 So Much Less Powerful
Spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
Following its Season 2 debut over the weekend, 13 Reasons Why has evoked rampant discussion over its treatment of sexual assault: Some argue its frank depictions of abuse and trauma are sparking necessary, long overdue conversations, while others contend they're gratuitous and triggering. But one thing the show has, nearly unanimously, gotten right is its portrayal of Bryce's sexual assault trial — a brief but potent story arc that mirrors many real-life cases.
In one particularly resonant scene, several women stand before the court and recount the various sexual misconduct they've endured throughout their lifetimes. They serve as a symbolic stand-in for Jessica, who is testifying against Bryce for her rape, but demonstrate, quite powerfully, how many women have similar stories — and how many, like Jessica, will never get proper justice. (Bryce is found guilty, but gets off with no jail time, and only three months of probation).
However, unlike the controversial rape scene featured in the finale — which creator Brian Yorkey recently defended — this one almost didn't make the cut.
“We broke the whole season’s story over a year ago, long before the surge in the #MeToo movement, long before all the revelations of last summer and last fall. So when we finally got to the producers’ cut of [episode] 213, I actually took that sequence out because I felt like it would seem like we were parodying the #MeToo movement," Yorkey explained to Entertainment Weekly.
“What happened in real life was so much more powerful than anything we could do dramatically that I felt like I didn’t want to seem to be piling on," he continued. "But there was an outcry from our executive producers and our executives, many of whom are women. They were right, and I’m really glad it’s in there because it’s such a cool moment.”
In contrast to the finale's rape scene — the merits of which, or lack thereof, can be debated ad nauseam — 13's #MeToo-channeling moment felt vital. It builds on a through-line that has underscored the show since its inception, and taps into a crucial, momentous cultural shift, perhaps demonstrating to younger audiences what much of society is only now publicly reckoning with. The season would have been lesser without it.